It's been awhile but I come back with ideas! Haha! Finally. God, it was a bad couple of weeks there but I've decided to finally put everything behind me and get back to writing! This, unfortunately, will be the last chapter. Sorry, but I think I finally got it!
Survival of the Smartest
Chapter Twelve: Closure
As Alice was talking to Emmett and Jasper, I thought. I thought about what Edward had done, how it seemed like all guys thought of me as an easy score. They would kiss me, try to get my shirt off, and then leave me heartbroken. It had happened with my first couple of boyfriends and it had happened with Edward. What was I, a public dumping station?
I needed to put it all behind me. Edward was a dick and I was so sick of everything he had done. Maybe he hadn't meant it, but whatever he had meant had hurt. I would do the project with him—coordinating everything so I would have to see him as little as possible—and then never speak to him again. It was almost foolproof until Edward decided to walk into Alice's house.
"Get out," was all Alice said to him. Jasper and Emmett actually got up and were about to push him out the door when he said:
"Wait! I really need to talk to Bella!"
"She doesn't want to talk to you," Emmett growled. Wow, he was a scary kid.
"Wait," I whispered, just loud enough for Alice to hear, "I want to hear what he has to say."
Emmett looked at Alice for directions, but she just shrugged. She was dumbfounded by my actions. I guess the whole not-talking thing had made her think I was heartbroken. I was, but I was also trying to get closure. Like a funeral, I needed to finish everything.
Edward sat down across from me and reached for my hand, but I slid it away from him. I would have nothing to do with him.
He cleared his throat, obviously embarrassed, and started talking. "Bella, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. It was just, I don't even know. You have every right to be angry but I—"
I cut him off. "Yes. I do have every right and I am. Edward you have no idea how bad it felt but I've made a decision and I'm going to stick to it." I took a deep breath. "I'm done with you. You may feel 'so sorry' and everything, but I am done. I've been hurt too much by you and so I'm moving on. We're done."
Edward just sat there, staring at me. "But, I thought you loved me."
"I did—I do. But I'm sick of being hurt so I'm moving on. I'll do the project with you because I need that scholarship, but after that I'm done. You and I are no more."
"Really? There's nothing I can do? I promise I'll make it up to you! Anything you want! Please, Bella! I love you!"
"Emmett, Jasper, please show Edward where the door is."
It was probably the most cold hearted thing I've ever done, but now I had closure. I was done with guys like Edward.
Three months later…
We had gotten through the project, finally. It was awkward and weird but the week of competition was here! Edward and I would travel to Seattle to compete against kids there. If we qualified to Regionals we would go against kids from the west coast and then, if we were really, really lucky, we would go to Washington D.C. for Nationals.
The Seattle competition was easy. Most of the kids hadn't put a ton of effort into it and we were one of the best, hands down.
Regionals were tricky. The exhibits were the best of the best and it was obvious that we weren't the greatest. Fortunately, we had a lot of in-depth information about our topic so we could add things and that made our speech Nationals worthy.
It was Nationals that I worried about. Edward had thrown up before the competition and wasn't feeling good now. I thought he might be sick, but he assured me it was just nerves. I didn't believe him. We had both been plenty nervous before the other competitions and he hadn't gotten sick then. I just hoped he could pull it together for the speech.
We had just started our presentation when he turned green and ran out on me. Luckily he left his note cards; unluckily he had our most important part and hadn't written that down. Crap.
I was so screwed and I knew it. The judges knew it too. As soon as he was gone they looked at me with pity in their eyes. I couldn't do it, but I was going to try my damn hardest.
The presentation came out a little stuttered and very nervous sounding, but I managed to hold it together well enough. Maybe we could get at least a partial scholarship or something.
After they left I looked around at the other presenters and to my surprise, I wasn't the only person doing this alone. Many competitors who had obviously had a partner were now left alone. Edward wasn't the only sick one. Something must have been going around—maybe food poisoning.
An hour or two later, Edward still hadn't come back, but all the presentations had been done and the judges were deliberating.
I looked around; worried that Edward wouldn't make it back in time. He had been gone a really long time. Was he dead? In his hotel room? Oh my god, why wouldn't he call me and tell me where he was!
Two minutes till announcements and he still wasn't here!
I pulled out my cell to call him when I heard someone behind me, "I'm back."
"Oh my god! Edward!" I jumped up and threw my arms around him. "How dare you just leave me like that!"?
Then I smacked him.
"Jeez, bipolar, much? And I'm sorry. I had to throw up. I think it was something I ate because I feel fine now."
"Well that's good, because they are announcing the winners in—"
"Competitors, please make your way to the stage."
We went up to the crowd together, making sure not to touch again. My sudden outburst had brought up memories of three months ago, and I really didn't want to think about that. Not now.
"Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the third annual American Academic Competition. These young people have worked hard to get to where they are and all these presentations are wonderful. Unfortunately, only three groups will get scholarships. And here we begin," the announcer said.
My palms were sweating and I was so nervous. Would our hard work be rewarded? Would the heartbreak we both endured be worth it?
"Third place goes to… Andrew McMahon and Jack S Mannequin. Congratulations." The room exploded into applause as Andrew and Jack went up to collect their prize, a scholarship of 5,000.
"Second place goes to… Jimmy E World and Jim Adkins. Congratulations!" Their prize was up to 10,000.
I was so nervous I was shaking. Would we win? Oh my god I don't think I had ever been this scared. Next to me, Edward looked like he might throw up again, but this time from nerves not food poisoning.
"And now, first place! The winners of first prize of a 20,000 scholarship and the title of American Academic Competition winners are…" A moment of unbelievably awful suspense, "Isabella Swan and Edward Cullen!"
I turned to Edward, totally speechless. "We won!" I screamed.
"We won," he smiled.
That was when I kissed him.
The backstabbing didn't matter. This was a total movie moment and I was going to take it as far as it would go without being cheesy.
"Let's go get that money," I whispered against his lips.
He didn't respond, but just took my hand and led me up to the stage. I couldn't tell if he was happy that I had kissed him, but he didn't look angry—which was probably a good thing.
"Congratulations Isabella and Edward. You are the winners of this year's American Academic Competition. Here is your prize." I took the oversized check from the announcer and held it up to the crowd, unbelievably ecstatic.
We had done it.
I felt Edward's hand snake around my waist. "I love you," he whispered.
"I love you, too."
Cue that movie kiss.
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